Freedom House: Obama Should Call for Mubarak to Step Down Immediately


In the wake of widespread and calculated attacks by Mubarak supporters on pro-democracy activists, Freedom House calls on President Obama to urge President Hosni Mubarak to step down immediately and to forthrightly urge a quick and peaceful transition to democracy.
Violence yesterday that left five dead and hundreds injured on Tahrir Square resulted from Mubarak supporters attacking pro-democratic protesters while government soldiers did nothing to stop the violence.   Regime opponents presently seem to be preventing Mubarak supporters from entering the square, but groups of thugs continue to terrorize journalists and those who provide medical treatment or food to demonstrators. The offices of several human rights organizations have been attacked and shut down by groups wearing the clothing of military police. A number of activists have been arrested, blindfolded and taken to unknown locations. Many international journalists have also been attacked by pro-regime supporters while others have been detained by the military. The status of several journalists is unknown, according the Committee to Protect Journalists.
“Whether these thugs are being directed by the Mubarak regime or conditions have spun out of control,  the fact remains that Egyptian citizens are under attack and the current government has done little to protect them,” said David J. Kramer, Freedom House executive director. “The situation in Egypt under Mubarak’s rule has become untenable, and it is past time for President Obama to publicly call on Mubarak to step down.”
Yesterday, the Egyptian government spread conspiracy theories about foreign organizations and journalists who are covering the news inside Egypt. In an interview on Al Jazeera today, Mubarak’s appointed vice president, Omar Suleiman continued the pattern of false accusations by accusing foreign parties with “their own agenda” of conspiring with activists to keep the protests alive in the hopes of overthrowing the regime.
“The propaganda of Mubarak’s regime to discredit pro-democracy groups and peaceful demonstrators is typical of crumbling dictatorships,” says Daniel Calingaert, deputy director of programs. “The pro-democracy movement in Egypt is entirely home-grown, and it reflects the widespread desire among Egyptians for freedom.”  
Egypt is ranked Not Free in Freedom in the World 2011, Freedom House's survey of political rights and civil liberties, and Partly Free in Freedom of the Press 2010.

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